South African Airways Passengers Hurt After Turbulence Rocks Jet

Passengers told of their terror Wednesday after their flight was hit by severe turbulence that left 20 people injured, two of them seriously. "I was forcefully flung out of my seat, onto the aisle, two rows in front of me,” said Asanda Ntshiqa, who was traveling with her family on the South African Airways jet from Johannesburg to Hong Kong. “There was screaming and crying, we weren't too sure what had just happened. We never expected to get to a point where we thought we'd lose our lives.”

Brian Heuer, who was on the flight with his wife, told the South China Morning Post that many passengers were asleep when the plane hit the turbulence. He added: "'Most of the injured hit their heads on the roof of the cabin." The airline said 17 passengers and 3 crew were injured when flight SA286 encountered turbulence as it flew over Kuala Lumpur. Two of them, both male, were seriously injured, one of them with neck injuries, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a police spokesman.

Image: Damage to the interior of a plane after it hit turbulence.
Damage to the interior of a South African Airways plane after it hit turbulence while flying to Hong Kong. Courtesy Asanda Ntshiqa


- Chapman Bell and Alastair Jamieson